Eagles Cold Again in 74-67 Loss

Despite a 53-35 rebounding advantage, Eastern shoots just 28 percent from the field and falls to 1-4 with its fourth-straight setback

A long scoreless stretch in the first half turned a promising start into a deficit, as the Eastern Washington University women's basketball team fell to Loyola-Chicago 74-67 Friday (Nov. 26) in Boulder, Colo., at the 24th Annual Omni Hotels Classic.

The Eagles will now play either Evansville or the host school, Colorado, in the consolation game Saturday at 4 p.m. Pacific time at the Coors Event Center. The Ramblers will plays in the championship game at 6:30 p.m.

The Eagles are now 1-4 overall with a four-game losing streak, while Loyola-Chicago improved to 3-1. Eastern continued its recent cold-shooting spell by making just 28 percent of its shots in the game and only 7-of-26 three-pointers. The Eagles had entered the game making only 36 percent from the field and 23 percent from the arc in its first four games.

Senior Julie Piper led the Eagles with her first double-double of the season with 20 points on 7-of-15 shooting from the field and 13 rebounds. Point guard Chene Cooper added 12 points, five assists, three steals and a career-high eight rebounds, but she made only 4-of-13 shots from the field. Brianne Ryan chipped in 11 points and four boards.

However, Eagle leading scorer Tatjana Sparavalo made just 2-of-9 shots from the field and only 2-of-5 from beyond the arc. She finished with six points and five rebounds after entering the game averaging 14.3 and 7.5, respectively. In addition, starting senior guard Kyla Evans made only 2-of-11 shots, including 2-of-9 three-pointers, to finish with just nine points.

The Eagles dominated the boards with a 53-35 rebounding advantage, including 29 off the offensive glass. The Ramblers made up for it with 47 percent shooting, as they were led by the 23 points and three assists of Monica Albano. Loyola-Chicago's leading scorer Ellen Ayoub chipped in 18 points and 10 rebounds.

Eastern jumped out to a 10-4 lead in the first four minutes, but then went 4:26 without scoring, which allowed the Ramblers to take a 13-10 advantage after a 9-0 run. They never trailed again in the game, as they led by as many as eight points in the first half and 34-28 at intermission.

Eastern made only 9-of-34 of its shots in the first 20 minutes for 27 percent, compared to 13-of-25 for 52 percent for Loyola-Chicago.

The Eagles cut the lead to two on two occasions in the second half, including at 47-45. But a missed front end of a one-plus-one free throw opportunity led to a 7-1 Rambler run and the Eagles fell behind 54-46.

Eastern battled back again to come within three at 57-54, but then missed a pair of shots that would have either tied the game or pulled EWU within one. Loyola-Chicago pulled away from there as the Eagles went four minutes without scoring and a nearly five minute stretch with just two baskets.

After opening a 68-57 lead with 2:05 to play, the Ramblers closed out the victory by making six of eight free throws in the final 47 seconds.

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